Zimbali Charity Fund (ZCF) joins hands with WCMA to enhance food security for vulnerable households in the North Coast. We are thrilled to enter into a 3-month partnership with the Zimbali Charity Fund, for a household food security project. Thank you to the members of the Charity for working incredibly hard to create greater awareness of the plight of households in the surrounding North Coast communities. The campaign received a positive response which translated into a substantial donation to secure 636 nutritious food parcels, to be distributed to 212 families, monthly, over 3 months. The Charity’s goal through this project, is to ease the immense financial burdens incurred by families, whose breadwinners lost their jobs early in the pandemic, and have yet to be re-employed or secure new employment.
It goes without saying that sudden and unexpected job losses stemming from the pandemic, have produced a significant economic shock in households. Income security is a means of eliminating the cycle of inter-generational poverty, and it better positions people to realise crucial developmental goals. The pandemic has taken families 1000 steps back, and their suffering is truly heartbreaking to witness. When a person loses their income, the cost of living doesn’t cease to exist. There are still basic service provisioning costs (rent, water, electricity, schooling, transport) food, and other living expenses to cover.
WCMA distributed 56 of 212 food parcels at Nkobongo. We spoke with some of the beneficiaries, and their stories are heart-breaking. These are women have lived difficult lives prior to the pandemic, and their lives have become more traumatic. Some have not gained employment since 2020. Some had a brief period of piece-meal work which also ended abruptly. Others got a little relief from government’s social protection pay-out of R500 for 3 months. Some have not been that “fortunate.” Then there are those who did not receive UIF, particularly the domestic workers. For these women, it has come down to doing the best they can with child support grants. All these women are actively seeking employment. You needed to be seated with us to witness the utter desperation of these women, the devastation that this pandemic has brought on. Yet, despite their tough lives, they were willing to have their stories told. And they were so grateful for our assistance.
That look of desperation followed by relief on learning that they would receive a food parcel for the next 3 months, will stay with Tammy and I for a very long time. Sometimes, just to have a safe space to tell your story, to speak to people who can understand your pain, people who show you a genuine act of kindness, people who commit to easing your burdens, even if it’s for a limited time, gives you a sense of renewed hope, and a reminder that you are loved. Perhaps most importantly, the actions of these people help to restore some dignity that the ugly face of poverty invariably strips you of. To be in the presence of these resilient women, to receive their blessings for everyone involved in this project, is truly humbling. From the depths of our hearts, THANK YOU ZCF, and every generous donor that brought this project to fruition.
We will be sharing more distributions with you.
We also wanted to share the stories of a few beneficiaries:
*Prior to the pandemic, Mrs M was the sole breadwinner. She worked 3 times a week as a gardener at one of the Durban hotels. When the pandemic hit, her employer informed her to stay home, listen to the news for updates, and that she would be called. Since then, the employer has not called her. She received 4 months’ UIF, and nothing thereafter. Just recently, her daughter found a job in Ballito. The family relies on the daughter’s income.
*Miss G worked in the construction industry, fixing the soccer ground in a nearby town. When the pandemic hit, she was laid off. She has rent and other expenses to pay, including schooling costs for her children. Since her unemployment, she has relied solely on the child support grants (CSG). Life has become very difficult. There is simply not enough money to meet all her household needs.
*Miss M came through with her mum for their food parcel. M was the sole breadwinner, working as a bartender in the hospitality industry. Her mum and 2 siblings relied on her salary and 2 CSGs. With lockdown restrictions, M has been forced to stay home for long periods. No alcohol sales means no work, no customers, and no tips, the latter filling the gap that stems from being paid a nominal wage. Their lives have become a struggle because their income was reduced to 2 CSGs. The family also received the state social support pay-out of R500 for 3 months. M is hopeful that now with lockdown eased to Level 1, she will be back at work more regularly, and that customers will return.
*Miss B worked on a farm, clearing the fields. When the pandemic hit, she was retrenched, and she has not been called back to work since. Her partner’s workdays were reduced to 3 days. Now the household survives on casual wages and 2 CSGs. They are struggling to make ends meet.
*Miss H was a domestic worker. She lost her job during the pandemic. She has 3 children. Since her unemployment, her household has relied solely on 2 CSGs. She’s been to Home Affairs 5 times, and she was returning for the 6th time, the day after our interview. She desperately needs a birth certificate for her third child so that she can apply for a CSG. Miss H humbly requested some baby clothes for her infant.
WCMA is involved in a number of food security projects for orphaned and vulnerable children, and vulnerable households. If you would like to get involved, give us a shout: 0325860073, or drop us an email: info@wecaremotherafrica.org.